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2:57 PM on 01.22.2010

OnLive and the Media - Love and Hate

Yesterday an article was posted on PC Perspective about OnLive (read it here). It was a fairly insightful article making comparisons between local and streamed games, complete with videos and analysis.

I'm shocked at the reaction to the article at other sites and by OnLive's actions (serving DMCA takedown notices and Cease and Desist memos, see post #26 here). The article was observational and probably the best objective in-depth look at OnLive we have seen to date. The analysis and editorialization I thought was fair and justified given the experience. Overall I think it was fairly well written and actually got me very excited about the possibilities of OnLive.

However, it seems that most people who have linked to the article, or reposted on their sites have latched onto this whole lag issue. Editors at other sites have sensationalized what was reported by injecting their own spin on the article by adding adjectives like: "Lukewarm", or "disappointing", etc. to their headlines.

This has totally eclipsed all other aspects of the article namely the fact that OnLive is actually making good on their voodoo promises.

Sadly, OnLive didn't see the article as constructive - with headlines at other sites making them look bad, who can blame them? But instead of taking the highroad and open a discussion, they interpretted PC Perspective's actions as aggression / transgression and sought to squish the article.

This actually could have been a great opportunity for OnLive to get people excited about their new product / service... but that has been squandered.

Despite all this drama, I'm still amazed that this thing actually does what it does! OnLive has a pretty interesting thing on their hands. Too bad they're not ready to deal with the media in a constructive manner preferring to deal with consumers and media on their own terms by feeding us controlled little nuggets which raises more questions and suspicions than anything.

Oh, and here's a sampling of the headlines linking to the original article:
"OnLive thin gaming client tested, not up to snuff" -
"[url="]OnLive gets a bad review from sneaky blogger, but itís off the mark[/url]" - VentureBeats
"OnLive demoed: lag, graphics are a problem" - Ars Technica
Even Destructoid did the same but they get a free pass because we know Dtoid is full of sh1t. :)

Now read the original and see if you don't notice a distinct difference in what PC Perspective reported, and what other media outlets posted.

Media outlets really have to stop editorializing on content that is not theirs. If they do, they should make it clear that they *are* editorializing, otherwise zealous companies like OnLive will continue to take down good content because of public image.

What a mess. Can we get back to gaming now?   read

7:08 AM on 12.04.2009

Un-Merry Holiday Gaming Season?

BestBuy in Canada is having a buy 2 and get 1 free promotion this week on all Wii, XBOX 360, and PS3 games. I'm an XBOX 360 gamer and don't play online very often, so when I looked through this Holiday's catalog I thought I'd pick up Dragon Age: Origins. But what about the other two? (I already own Borderlands and MW2, not much else left).

This season's XBOX 360 game titles are pretty sad. I couldn't find two more titles I'd like to buy. It seems that majority of publishers have pushed back their A-grade games into 2010.

So what do you people think? What's grabbing your attention this holiday? If you were me and had to pick 3 games, what would you choose from the list of titles released in 2009?

There's always Onchanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad, but damn I still don't know what else to get!   read

9:21 AM on 12.01.2009

Torchlight impressions - all that glitters is not gold

As with a lot of Torchlight reviews / editorials, mine will begin similarly:

1. Yes, I played Diablo and was horribly addicted to it for years.
2. Yes, I was intrigued by Torchlight's preview, despite its lack of multiplayer.
3. Yes, the price was incentive enough to give it a try.

However, despite the beautiful graphics, polished gameplay mechanics, and the frugal price, I am let down by Torchlight. Given the immense talent behind the game (much of the same talent behind Diablo), I expected more, or at least a taste of the full potential that is coming with the Torchlight MMO. But if Torchlight is meant to be something to whet my appetite for more Torchlight, it has failed.

My biggest problem with Torchlight is that it doesn't strive to be more than Diablo. The basic gameplay mechanics are the same, even audio elements are the same. Torchlight quests are even more mundane and the scenarios and environments are repetitive and uninspiring.

Combat requires no strategy or skill - my Berserker has been using the same 2 skills since level 1, and I'm nearly finishing the game on Hard difficulty with over 30 stat points and 15 skill points left to distribute. There is no incentive to refine or hone your character since unbalanced skills and gear make your nearly unstoppable. Boss fights are forgettable and easily missed as any other encounter in the game.

The budget price is often used to excuse any shortcomings in a game, but given the pedigree of the company that made Torchlight and the standard that it's adhering to, it should have delivered something that is a bit more inspiring, memorable, and captivating.

I feel that I should be enjoying this game more, but I'm not - Torchlight tastes very stale despite its obvious polish. If this is the state of hack-and-slash action-RPGs now, then I fear for what is coming in the next few years. I hope both Diablo 3 and the Torchlight MMO deliver more than what Diablo did in the late 90s.

I've grown up and moved beyond Diablo, and so should those who make such games.   read

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